The Anna Papers

Ellen Gilchrist, Author Little Brown and Company $0 (277p) ISBN 978-0-316-31316-2
Jackie is a high school student who finds herself in a cement roomperhaps a cellarwith only a thread of light, a jar of oily water and a box of old donuts and pastries. She doesn't know why a man in a van snatched her off the streets, brought her there and hasn't returned. All she has is a typewriter and a ream of paper. And so, to keep herself going until the nightmare of captivity is over, she types stories, letters to her friends and family, notes to herself. The story of the last days before her capture are revealed, but what is never told is why she is thereand by the end, it doesn't matter. In fact, it doesn't even matter whether or not her ``captivity'' is real or imagined, madness or illumination. Her world is so self-contained that the voyage inward brings to Jackie the most essential truths; these she conveys to readers. In that self-absorbed state, without any external interference, Jackie is more purely herself in mind and spirit than most people are ever privileged to beand that gives her the strength to meet her fate (rescue or not) with calm and even hope. The power of Sebestyen's writing lies in the simplicity with which she delineates the intellectual and emotional processes of a girl in a box. The author has put herself in that box; this is a tightly focused writing exercise that is also a brilliant piece of suspense. Readers will come forth deeply stirred by their thought-provoking and devastating stay. Ages 12-up. (October)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 277 pages - 978-0-316-31320-9
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